Hungary's government will not resubmit a law to ban the resettlement of migrants after parliament narrowly rejected the plan this week, Prime Minister Viktor Orban told state radio on Friday. Hungarian PM Orban had said the amendment was needed to honor an October referendum, in which more than three million Hungarians, an overwhelming majority of those who voted, rejected EU quotas stipulating how many migrants member states must accept.
The far-right opposition Jobbik party sealed the bill's rejection by boycotting the vote on Tuesday. It said it would throw its support behind the ban if Orban scrapped a separate government bond scheme that allows foreigners to buy residency rights.
But giving way to Jobbik's demand would have been politically difficult for Orban after the parliamentary defeat.
"We tried to put this [referendum decision] into the constitution but could not achieve this as the opposition sided with Brussels," Orban said in an interview on radio.
As a result, Orban added, his government would have to fight the European Union's migrant quotas in Brussels instead, using Hungary's existing constitution.
Orban said he could rely on his own Fidesz party and its partner the Christian Democrats in his fight now that Jobbik had turned from a radical party into "a bunch of softies" who represented the interests of Brussels instead of Hungary's. "The battleground is in Brussels, at home we have done what we could, our conscience is clean," he said.
Jobbik is Fidesz's strongest political opponent. The latest poll by research center Tarki showed its support at 10 percent in October, down from 14 percent in July. Fidesz widened its support to 32 percent from 30, with the opposition Socialists on 9 percent support. The next election is due in 2018.
Viktor Orban is considered as Europe's standard-bearer for swelling opposition to German Chancellor Angela Merkel's "open-door" policy as the continent grapples with its worst migration since World War II.
Nicknamed "Viktator", Orban has sealed Hungary's borders with barbed wire fences that his younger self had fought to tear down. And on Sunday he hopes to boost his growing clout with a national vote aimed at rejecting the EU's troubled migrant quota plan. Orban is often seen bantering with EU President Jean-Claude Juncker who jokingly greeted him with "Hello, dictator" at an EU summit last year.
"Europe is again under attack... We may one morning wake up and realize that we are in the minority," he thundered last autumn, as hundreds of thousands of people fleeing war and poverty trekked north in search of a new life in wealthy EU nations. Declaring Hungary a defender of the "European Christian identity," Orban warned immigration was a "poison" that brought "terrorism" and crime into the block.
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